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Henry Pilling

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Henry Pilling (1867-1931) of Galloways

1867 Henry Pilling was born in Bolton.

1896 Chief Assistant, in charge of the Engine Inspection Department of the National Boiler and General Insurance Co

1900 became a member of the I Mech E[1]

He worked at Galloways from 1909 to 1928, becoming General Manager in 1918.

He introduced some important developments, including his patented oil trip valve gear.

He died in 1931. [2]

1931 Obituary [3]

HENRY PILLING, M.B.E., had an extensive experience of engines for the tin-plate industry and reversing engines for heavy steel rolling. He invented a single-lever control gear by which the operations of reversing, adjusting the cut-off and controlling the handling valves of rolling engines were all performed from one lever, and at the same time permitting full steam for the full stroke at the commencement of rolling operations. He was also the inventor of a device for reversing winding engines by which the stroke of the valves remained constant throughout. He did pioneer work in developing the manufacture of the "Unifiow" steam-engine, and invented a hydraulically operated valve-gear which met with considerable success.

He was appointed general manager at Messrs. Galloways in 1909, and was afterwards elected a director of the company, whose activities he did much to develop. He introduced the construction of large gas-engines of the Continental type and effected various improvements, including a piston with internal diagonal bracing ribs.

Mr. Pilling served his apprenticeship with Messrs. John Musgrave and Sons, and was for some years subsequently in the service of the National Boiler and General Insurance Company of Manchester, prior to joining Messrs. Yates and Thom of Blackburn.

He became an Associate Member of the Institution in 1897 and had been a Member since 1899.

He died on 20th February 1931, at the age of 64.

1931 Obituaries [4]


Mr. Henry Pilling, whose death occurred on Friday, 20th inst., after a brief illness, was general manager and director of Galloways, Ltd., of Manchester, with which firm he had been associated since 1909. Mr. Pilling was in his sixty-fourth year. He served his apprenticeship with the firm of John Musgrave and Sons, Ltd., of Bolton, and was for some time afterwards in the service of the National Boiler and General Insurance Company, Ltd., Manchester. He left that company to join the old-established Blackburn firm of Yates and Thom, Ltd., and remained with that firm until his appointment as general manager to Galloways, Ltd. Soon after this appointment Mr. Pilling made a bold attempt to broaden the basis of Messrs. Galloways’ activities by introducing the construction of large gas engines, which at that time were making much headway on the European Continent, and he was instrumental in making many improvements in this type of engine, perhaps the most important being a piston with internal diagonal bracing ribs. He also did some pioneer work in developing the manufacture of the Uniflow steam engine—originally a British invention. Here again he was responsible for the introduction of certain improvements in design. An hydraulically operated valve gear was another of his inventions and met with much success on the Unifiow and on other types of steam engine.

Mr. Pilling had a remarkable knowledge of steam engines for use in the heavy industries, and particularly for driving steel and tin-plate rolls. In this connection he invented a single-lever control gear, by which the economies of control by shortening the cutoff are combined with control by throttling and the advantage of giving full steam for the full stroke at the commencement of rolling operations can be secured. In these instances and in the design of superheaters, boiler details and latterly in connection with the Supermiser Mr. Pilling showed much inventive ability and pertinacity.

Mr. Pilling identified himself closely with the affairs of the Manchester and District Engineering Employers’ Federation, becoming a member of the executive committee in 1916, president in 1928, and he was again elected president in December last. He was president of the Manchester Association of Engineers in 1920-21, and in his presidential address made a strong effort to strengthen the Association by the formation of a junior section on somewhat similar lines to those adopted by other kindred institutions. It was chiefly due to the initiative which he displayed during his year of office and to his support later that a branch of associates was formed. He was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, a founder member of the Engineers’ Club, Manchester, and a member of the Order of the British Empire."

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Mechanical Engineer Records 1847-1930
  2. [1] The National Archives - details of the Henry Pilling Papers
  3. 1931 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  4. The Engineer 1931/02/27